By Lina Chankar
CHULA VISTA, CA – Southwestern College (SWC) female student went into class this morning and told her instructor that she and her family had been exposed to Ebola.
SWC Dean Mark Meadows said it started in his office when a faculty member said a student told her she missed class because of possible infection with the virus.
Student told her professor her sister had flu-like symptoms and was hospitalized after she was on a trip to the Midwest. The student, however, was not exhibiting any flu-like symptoms, said SWC Chief Public Information Officer Lilian Leopold.
“As I was listening to the professor tell me this, I heard three key words which promoted me to call the campus nurse: CDC, symptoms and that she had been on an airplane,” Meadows said. “I called the campus nurse because they can appraise the situation better than I could.”
Building 470 and surrounding buildings were taped off while officials investigated.
Nurses and campus police came into Meadows’ office and spoke about what the student related to her professor, he said.
Leopold said, “Campus nurse has thoroughly examined the student and there is no expectation of Ebola.”
“The student confirmed no member of her family has been in the hospital,” the statement read. “This is now a student conduct matter and will be treated in accordance with the district’s policy and procedures.”
SWC called County of San Diego Public Health Services, but the department did not come on campus, said Leopold.
Student Charles Westbrook, communications major, was in his Spanish class of about 40 students. He said they were on lockdown for approximately one hour after campus police said to stay in class.
“Cops were going back and forth updating us on what’s going on,” said Westbrook.
Westbrook said campus police told him, “There is a possibility that someone might be contracted with the Ebola virus, and for our safety he asked us to stay inside so we can keep away from it.”
Vinnie Avila-Walker, vice president of Student Veterans Organization at SWC, spoke about his experience this morning.
Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fevers.
“Illnesses marked by severe bleeding (hemorrhage), organ failure and, in many cases, death,” according to the Mayo Clinic.